Currently reading: Volkswagen T-Roc R: hot compact SUV on sale from £38,450
Performance crossover closely follows segment-leading Golf R hot hatchback with 296bhp and a top speed of 155mph

The new Volkswagen T-Roc R is now available to order in the UK, with prices starting from £38,450. 

Standard equipment includes white paint, 19in alloy wheels and Volkswagen's latest Active Info Display system. Other colours are available from £360-£1075, while a leather-and-carbonfibre interior package can be equipped for an additional £2155 and an Akrapavoič sports exhaust system for £3000. 

Revealed at the Geneva motor show in March, the T-Roc R is set to become one of the major players in the burgeoning performance crossover market.

It's as closely related to the Volkswagen Golf R as lesser versions are to the regular Golf, sharing the same powertrain and base suspension components. 

That means it has the Volkswagen Group’s EA888 turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine (fitted with a particulate filter and in 296bhp tune), part-time Haldex-based all-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. 

Vw t roc r 2019 1446e

Volkswagen claims a 4.9sec 0-62mph time – 0.3sec slower than the Golf R but 0.3sec quicker than the Cupra Ateca – and an electronically governed top speed of 155mph.

Despite a close hardware relationship with the Ateca and the Audi SQ2, settings are unique for each car. Although it sits higher than the Golf, the T-Roc R is 20mm closer to the ground than the standard T-Roc, thanks to lower suspension and firmer settings. Passive dampers are standard, but Volkswagen’s Dynamic Chassis Control system can be specified for £695. 

The T-Roc R gets 19in alloy wheels and the beefy 17in brakes from the Golf R Performance as standard.

Vw t roc r 2019 1465x

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Other visual changes include chunkier bumpers, an anodised finish for the front grille, matt chrome mirror caps and R badges. The interior gets some carbonfibre trim and a sportier steering wheel, plus the option of the Golf R’s sport seats. 

Q&A with Jost Capito, R division boss

What are the fundamentals of the R brand? 

“It is all-wheel drive, it is sporty and – after discussions with customers in a lot of countries – we know they want to see cars around 300 horsepower. People say why not go higher, but we need to hit a certain price, a sweet spot: we sell more than 20,000 Golf Rs a year.” 

Vw t roc r 2019 1470ac

How do you stop confusion with GTI models? 

“Firstly, they have two-wheel drive, but also they are more extreme. The R models have to be less racy, but with the same capability or even more. They always have more horsepower but are more about everyday usage. A TCR or Clubsport is much more aggressive. The GTI is in Up, Polo and Golf – and we are saying that R is starting with Golf.” 

So will there be several other R models? 

“The task I’ve been given is to make R to Volkswagen what M is for BMW. That means different positioning from just having a Golf R. There will be a wider spread. For the future, the Golf and T-Roc will not be the only ones, that’s for sure.” 

Mike Duff

Mike Duff
Title: Contributing editor

Mike has been writing about cars for more than 25 years, having defected from radio journalism to follow his passion. He has been a contributor to Autocar since 2004, and is a former editor of the Autocar website. 

Mike joined Autocar full-time in 2007, first as features editor before taking the reins at Being in charge of the video strategy at the time saw him create our long running “will it drift?” series. For which he apologies.

He specialises in adventurous drive stories, many in unlikely places. He once drove to Serbia to visit the Zastava factory, took a £1500 Mercedes W124 E-Class to Berlin to meet some of its taxi siblings and did Scotland’s North Coast 500 in a Porsche Boxster during a winter storm. He also seems to be a hypercar magnet, having driven such exotics as the Koenigsegg One:1, Lamborghini SCV12, Lotus Evija and Pagani Huayra R.

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